Thousands gather at Sheffield's City Hall to celebrate Chinese New Year
Thousands turned out in Sheffield last night to celebrate Chinese New Year in the city’s ‘biggest multicultural event’.
Around 2,000 revellers packed into the City Hall for the celebrations, which lasted more than four hours as people marked the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.
A top acrobat Troupe from China’s Jiangxi Province wowed crowds with a gymnastic extravaganza before singer Aixinjueluo Qidi took to the stage to perform. As well as her own singing career, Qidi is a a judge on Young Singers Contest – a show on China’s biggest public television network.
Revellers were also treated to a performance from Sai Ma, a quartet who specialise in bringing together Eastern and Western music “in perfect harmony.”
Sheffield's very own Wanlin Dance Academy also performed traditional Chinese dance, while Chinese food was laid on for everyone to enjoy. Guests also took part in calligraphy and painting in the evening’s Pre Show. Winning entries from a Chinese New Year-themed art competition for school pupils in Sheffield were also on display.
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20 in the Gregorian calendar. This year it started on Saturday, January 25 and will end on Tuesday, February 4.
The dates change every year because the festival is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Next year will be the year of the Ox.
Events are being held throughout cities in England to welcome the Year of the Rat, this year's animal zodiac. On Sunday, London held what organisers claim was the largest celebrations outside of Asia.
In traditional Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.
In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of 12 animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac. The rat is the first of all zodiac animals.
Sheffield’s Chinese New Year celebrations have been held at the City Hall since 2004 as a way of promoting traditional Chinese culture overseas.